South Africa 17-16 Wales, Rugby World Cup, September 11
Springboks concern over De Villiers
ESPNscrum Staff
September 11, 2011
Springboks centre Jean de Villiers is wrapped up, Wales v South Africa, Rugby World Cup 2011, Wellington, New Zealand, September 11, 2011
Springboks centre Jean de Villiers is wrapped up during Sunday's win over Wales © Getty Images

South Africa are sweating on the fitness of Jean de Villiers after the centre was forced off in Sunday's World Cup clash with Wales in Wellington.

De Villiers took a blow to his ribs and was replaced just 24 minutes in by Butch James. Springboks head coach Peter de Villiers admitted that his namesake's availability for the rest of the tournament is a major cause for concern. "I am very worried about him," he said. "We will do a full assessment after 24 hours."

The Boks boss has more pressing issues, though, with his side turning in a distinctly unimpressive displayer in their tournament-opening 17-16 victory over the Welsh. The reigning champions had started promisingly, taking the lead three minutes in with a try from Frans Steyn.

However, they were dominated in the third quarter as Wales came storming back to move 16-10 ahead courtesy of Toby Faletau's converted touchdown. The Boks showed impressive character in managing to turn the game around, Francois Hougaard crossing for the game's decisive score shortly after coming on as a replacement, but the fightback did not paper over the cracks of a disjointed display.

"We came to win the first game and we achieved that goal. Our bench went on and made the difference, that's why they were there," he said.

"It wasn't a rugby test. I call it a test of character. At the start, Wales flooded the breakdowns and never allowed us to get going."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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